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Within a few hours of the meeting of the High Five in the Basement, the Sixers have unlocked the First Gate.
Ludus, taken over by Sixers, isn't a very good place for education anymore, so a copy, Ludus II, is created nearby. That's what's so handy about virtual worlds: once one goes to the underworld in a handbasket, you can just make another one right quick.
Back in the real world, IOI made the explosion that toppled Wade's trailer stack seem like a meth lab exploded. Nothing unusual, so it rouses no suspicion.
Meth labs are forever exploding.
With Parzival's endorsement money, Wade is able to buy a bus ticket to Columbus, OH, which is where OASIS's servers are located.
Wade modifies his identity online, changing his name to Bryce Lynch (who is a character from the '80s TV series Max Headroom), and rents an apartment under this assumed name.
He locks himself in his apartment and vows "not to go outside again until [he] complete[s] his quest" (16.29). We hope he's packed a lot of air freshener.